ERIE, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s quite an honor to be named class valedictorian, and that’s why one Colorado school district wants to go back to having just one valedictorian every year.
Some schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District have had dozens of valedictorians per class. In fact Erie High School had 12 valedictorians last year — so many they could barely all fit on the stage. But starting this year only the single student with the highest grade point average will receive the honor.
“What you have is a number of students that have done extremely well academically and they deserve to be honored. I just don’t believe that valedictorian is the honor they should receive,” St. Vrain Schools Superintendent Don Haddad said.
The school board agreed this week the number of valedictorians had become excessive.
“Quite frankly I think it dilutes the honor to a certain degree,” a school board member said.
Many students also agree with the decision.
“I think it’s a good idea because if you’re number one at the school you should be honored as number one and not have to share with other people,” a student said.
There were 15 valedictorians at Longmont High School last year and 16 at Skyline High School. Sometimes there are dozens of students all with a 4.0 GPA or higher. The practice started in 2004 to encourage honor students who took a rigorous course load. Some graduates supported the idea.
“I think they should have more than one. It’s better for the school; it looks better on the school to have many valedictorians instead of only one because one person is not going to represent the whole school,” another student said.
Some parents think the new policy will serve as the best motivation.
“I think it makes it harder to achieve that and maybe students will push themselves and take harder courses and become a valedictorian,” a parent said.
The principal can make an exception to the one valedictorian rule in very special circumstances, but it will still have to be approved by the superintendent.